Monday, July 9, 2012

Gay Bashing continued

I was fortunate enough to have two letters to the editor published in the Philadelphia Inquirer recently.  The first was in response to an article written by Robert Patterson.  Mr. Patterson is the editor of the public-policy journal the Family in America, and had served as a welfare adviser in the Corbett administration before having been forced to resign due to some past articles published by the Family in America journal which were thought to exhibit a strong bias against providing assistance to those in need, seemingly in direct contrast to his role as welfare advisor to the Governor of Pennsylvania.

His article can be accessed through the following link

My letter attempted to recognize the role that a strong family plays in our society while pointing out that there is not a shred of evidence that the marriage of two same-sex consenting adults has in any way harmed the American family or promoted the demise of nearly 1 in 2 heterosexual marriages. 

Before sending the letter, I did some basic research on the topic of divorce in America.  Here is some information to consider. 

The legal act of divorce did not come readily to the laws of the various states in America.  For some states, divorce was not possible, legally until the 1800's and for one, South Carolina I believe it was, a couple could not get divorced legally until well into the 1900's. 
Since women did not generally hold jobs outside the home until WW2, divorce was not a financially wise move on their part as it usually left them with no means of support.  As a result, women stayed with their husbands as it was clearly the lesser of two evils; servitude/abuse/2nd class treatment or homelessness/destitution.

While the extremely bad examples that we see splashed across the tabloids of quickie marriages and even quicker divorces bolster sales, there is also a significant number of divorces among those married 20+ years.  These divorces generally do not break up families as the kids are gone, and do not leave one spouse destitute.  Perhaps those who divorce in their late 40's and 50's have forgotten the "death till we part' vow, but they usually separate out of a mutual realization that they they have grown apart over the years; fell out of love.  And frequently, they remain friends, even supportive of each other, just not married.

Divorce rates are rising, no doubt.  But there are some sociological factors that Mr. Patterson chooses to ignore when discussing why this is true, so it seems logical that his solutions, one of which is to "reclaim the natural family" might seem off-base.

The real issue that Mr. Patterson and those that search for stronger families should be addressing is why there is so many women with multiple children (sometimes from multiple partners) raising their children alone.  That family dynamic makes up the majority of those on assistance and those in need of society's help.  Where are the articles condemning the men who father children and deny their responsibility? 

Rather than fighting the attempts to provide sex education, including preventing pregnancy, it is groups like the Family in America who like to pretend that only "bad" girls get pregnant and somehow the boys are excused because "boys will be boys".    

Mr. Patterson also tries to justify discriminating against gay marriage by citing income levels as some type of proof that they don't need this equal treatment.  I guess when he cites the same advanced income levels to stump for eliminating tax breaks for the rich, I will consider this argument debatable rather than a poorly veiled attempt to contrive reasons to justify his discrimination.  Perhaps he should spend a weekend with the partner of a dying gay or lesbian American citizen who has to fight hospital rules to spend the last moments of life with their partner, or maybe help them move from their home when they are displaced because inheritance laws didn't protect them. 

Defining marriage as one man, one woman, is great for getting the conservative base energized, as very few of them are gay.  As I say in my letter, blaming high divorce rates on a community of people who are not legally able to marry is like blaming an ice cream shortage on people who don't eat ice cream.  If Mr. Patterson is really worried about the sanctity of marriage and keeping families together, he would propose banning people from divorcing, marrying, divorcing, marrying, divorcing, etc.  Or perhaps ban divorce when the children are under 16?     

I know, we live in a free country and we can't do that.  Yet somehow we can ban marriage for a group of
tax-paying adults.  Two people in love who wish to share their lives, death till they part.  What is more "natural" than that.

Here is my letter.

To the Editor:

Robert Patterson's article in Sunday's Currents, "GOP should stand with marriage", makes a number of valid points about the demise of the American family and its negative effects on America in general and the middle class in particular. The desire for stronger relationships between men and women so that less families are torn by divorce is shared among virtually all Americans, regardless of political affiliation. Unfortunately, Mr. Patterson makes an undocumented and, yes, I'll say it, hateful leap from noting a problem to placing its cause at the feet of a population that for the most part, isn't allowed to marry. Sort of like blaming people who don't eat ice cream for an ice cream shortage.

Like most Americans, I know all to many couples who have divorced. For those of whom it was appropriate, when asked why they divorced, I heard a variety of answers including "married too young", "we just grew apart", "financial problems", "infidelity", and the all too popular "we fell out of love". But not once did I hear, we got divorced because gay people can now get married.

So, yes, Mr. Patterson, I agree that the GOP should stand for marriage. But not just "heterosexual marriage", any marriage between two consenting adults.

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